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Unit Five React Post #2: “Westward the Course of Empire Takes It Way” by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze

Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze, the painter of the famous Washington Crossing the Delaware, painted the above scene in 1860. How does Leutze depicts Western expansion? What might his opinion of American expansion be, based on this painting?

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48 Comments

  1. Hannah says:

    His depiction of western migration is depicted as a sign of hope, and a sign of a “new world” if you would like to say. The people seem tired and weary but there are people or leaders who are pushing them that hope and their destination is up ahead, and their new lives away from class struggle would soon be over. It seems like they are more south towards Mexico or Texas because of the dry, sandy land and the pueblo looking rock. The painter probably thinks of western expansion as a good thing for those in the south because it gives them an opportunity to get them away from, once again, class struggle. The way he has the painting set up, it shows a women and her child in the middle of the painting, probably symbolizing the Virgin Mary and her son Jesus. Also in the painting, in the background there is a faint cross also symbolizing Christ. These people were more than likely religious, and the hope that they had to expand out west for hope for a new life.

  2. Amanda Histand says:

    I could tell even before finding out who the painter was, that it was the same person who painted “Washington Crossing the Delaware”. The picture has very similar techniques, such as a lot of people gathered around one focal point. In the painting of Washington Crossing the Delaware, of course Washington was the main focal point. The painting shows a group of pioneers and their train of covered wagons pictured at the continental divide, and looking towards the sunset. The border also depicts small vignettes of exploration. I think that the painting is also celebrating the idea of Manifest Destiny. You can see that there are a lot of people recording the births, deaths, and battles. The painter probably thinks of western expansion as a good thing, because the pioneers are standing at the threshold of the “Promised Land” if you will, and are thinking this is where they need to be.

  3. marcus says:

    This picture depicts many aspects that were displayed in the “Washington Crossing the Delaware” painting so the resemblance is obvious. Although what also deems to Obvious is these pictures are extraordinarily different in meaning even though both displayed hope and passion to discover the “unknown truth inside ourselves”, wanting to expand our human curiosity to greater lengths. This picture also plays in ordinance with Manifest Destiny as that is what early western expansion was derived from. This picture displays well towards the emotion of that belief as these men and women are desperate and ambitious towards their goals of finding new opportunity and therefor are fueled to discover and explorer over their hard and rocky landscape. As the painter displayed the emotion perfectly of utter exhaustion of the man and women on this long journey, but being american the painter paints them to trudge on to become self made just as this country and the Jacksonian view promotes us to do.

  4. Will wagner says:

    In this picture you can tell that George Washington is planning to cross the Delaware because he has his crew and he is telling them what to do and they also have a lot of supplies. I think what Leautze means in this picture for western expansion is that it starting a new beginning. Moving west helps them start over with a new life and gives Washington the opportunity to make adjustments on what he needs. You can see that everyone is tiered and over worked but the wont stop knowing that Washighton has a new begging for the up ahead.So thats why they are working hard because they want a second chance at a new life and you can see they are working hard because they have tools and are building and knocking things down for them to have a path to the west. In this picture you can tell who the leaders are because they are pointing there fingers in what way they are going. They are motivating the people to keep going because there a new start coming.The people really look up to the leaders and believe in them because you can see that they are still going in the picture.

  5. Thomas Mariutti says:

    In his painting, Leutze portrayed pioneer men and women, mountain guides, wagons, and mules. These images represent the long way to the west. The artist portrays a depiction of the entrance to the San Francisco Bay, the yellow area , which is being pointed to by the man seating on the rock. Darkness is also represented in the painting. Leutze uses the dark to represent all the mishaps that happened during the trip. Not everyone was successful when traveling to the est. Lots of people died and struggled to get to the new land. A famous story is about a group of people coming from the north, and in the middle of the trip was stopped by the cold and snow and was left to die. It is also interesting to note that Leutze depicts the people in his painting as people who are really willing to sacrifice everything to get to the new land. We can see that they are carrying all their stuff with them. Moms with babies are willing to take the risk of the long journey also. They appear to be really “rushing” to the gold in California.

  6. Dylan Shifflett says:

    These paintings are very similar. They have completely different meanings but they both discover something we didn’t know about before. The photos both have similarities about faith. This also portrays the women and men both are willing to do anything to find their new hope or destination. In my eyes I see it kind of resembling Manifest Destiny. His opinion of expansion might be that as of a good thing for the south to grow away from the struggle of class.

  7. Peter says:

    On the center of this painting, there is a man holding two children points forward. During that time, men were not supposed to look after children, they had a different than women. They should go out and earn money for the family. Looking after children was seen as a job only for women But during this journey of exploring western territories, the distinction between men and women’s different role in society became blurring. Women sometimes had to carry items and ride carriages while men sometimes had to cook in order to sustain their families and look after their children. Men sometimes had to exchange chores with women during the journey. Two men behind him are standing atop of a hill looking far into the distance to observe landforms.There are many men carrying firearms probably to protect themselves from Indian attacks. A man with big beard and a hat is encouraging his team to keep going. Women also appear in this painting moving forward like men do. I believe they are traveling by family units. Although people in this painting seem overly exhausted, but they also look excited about the unknown and mysterious lands waiting for them. Therefore, the painter supported the expansion towards west.

  8. Deja Canter says:

    It is easy to see that the same man painted this and Washington Crossing the Delaware. Many of the same techniques are used, such as, a lot of people gathered around one central person. The focus point of this picture is a man who is pointing gout westward in order to show the people the way. This painting doesn’t depict the western expansion as a peaceful, organized movement. Two men are climbing a rock in order to get away from the mess that’s going on below them. The seem to be people who were living in the west and are now being forced to move and become civilized by the expansion. There is a cross shown on the rock below these two men since expansion was something tat started from christian beliefs that the United States should expand from sea to sea. It’s slightly ironic that the christian way is supposed to be good and peaceful but all the people around the cross are in complete chaos. The people in the expansion seem to be all rushing to get to the new lands. It seems that nothing is organized and everyone is just doing whatever they please. I don’t think that the painter agreed with the way the expansion was carried out but likesd the idea of expansion itself.

  9. Laurent G. says:

    Emmanuel Gottlied Leutze, a German painter, known for the famous painting Washington Crossing the Delaware, illustrated us here another critical moment in American history. So, in that painted, which represent the pioneers during their Westward expansion, is divided in two parts. But first, there are different kind of poeple, women, men, children, animals and it really represents the movement of transition towards West. The painting is kind of separating in two parts, because on the right hand side we can notice that it is more dark and on the right hand side, there is more light. Thus, Leutze depicts what the pioneers are coming from, which is the dark side, the troubles that pioneers had to defeat until they got there. On the other side, Leutze wants to illustrate the beautiful and peaceful horizon for the pioneers, The land that they always wanted is just around the corner. The mountains in the background is also an illustration of what the pioneers has been through. In such of hard conditions, illustrated by snow, they made it to their dreamed land. According to the painting and the way it is depicted, I will say that Leutze is a supporter of the Manifest Destiny, which means the American Expansion. He wants to make sure that we understand how hard the Americans worked hard to achieve the goal of expanding to the West.

  10. lucas de lorenzo eberly says:

    Well first of all, this painting is practically the land, pioneer version of “Washington crossing the Delaware”. If you compare them, they are very similar. The left side of the painting is much lighter and brighter than the right side symbolizing that the west holds new opportunities and greatness. The pioneers are pointing ahead in joy and anticipation for what is to come. In the back you can see a cross if you look closely. This shows that they are taking religion with them to take into the west. There are a lot of people including kids and women. This goes to show that there were whole families moving to the west. They left their lives just on the idea of the west being a great place. The mountains and rocks represent the hardships and problems that they faced on their journey. You can also see people chopping down trees. This ties to the other painting “The Valley”. The cut down trees represent industrialization and modern ideas. They are taking the “new America” with them into the west.

  11. Sharon Xu says:

    The painting Westward the Course of Empire Takes It Way shows the opinion of Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze the painter on the event of the expansion to the west. The painting painted in 1861. According to the whole picture, the color changes from right to the left, from dark to the bright, which means the Americans from the east are come from the dark pain land to the golden land. Most people look to the west, even there is one man point the west for two kids in his hug. People be painting come from various class of the society: farmers, workers, ranchers. On the right side is suffering and having a really hard time, and they are coming out of the shadow of some travail. Some of them goes to the mountain peak, which is a symbol of the division of the suffering, but when they get into left, they start to farm and built the houses, and started their happy life and bright future. The cross on the mountain is the symbol of the Manifest Destiny, the God choose the Americans to expand to the west and help the other lower race to be civilized. Therefore, for the painter, he really believe in the expansion to the west would make American better.

  12. Piper Hayes says:

    Wester expansion is a favorite topic of mine. This painting to be though shows a chaotic move to the west in an attempt to forward American culture to the rest of the world. Although there are many things I imagine when thinking of western expansion (Pioneers, covered wagons and fur caps) I do not imagine that there would be that many people while moving west. I suppose I always think of one family moving west to create a new life for themselves, but this painting shows entirely Manifest Destiny. It looks as if people are pointing out a new future for people and not only making the decision to move on their own but for America.
    The sense of wonder and imagination is high in this piece. All the people are exploring the west and looking at their new land and wondering what could be out there. The distance seems foggy, and although there is a tree fallen in the front of the picture, there are no trees out in the valley. Yeah, Id be pretty curious too.

  13. Alan Cao says:

    The painting praises the spirit of the westward expansion, and the frame full of rallying point. The style of painting does really similar to the poster in Soviet Union during the Civil war period. In the painting there’s a pioneer in the middle of the picture, she raised her arm and pointed to the distance, some of pioneers who around her also raised their guns pointed to the distance, all are pointed to the same way. There’s a Conspicuous guy who is standing on the highest point in the picture with a hammer in the hand and held above the head. For the poster of Soviet Union,the great watching focus is the workers in the poster raise their arms in the same way or hold the tool on the hand. because the goal of poster is to show the motivation of revolution. Just like in 1860 America, “Manifest Destiny” motivated American to extent their territory to the west, the guy who hold the hammer symbolic the construction of western industry or railroad. the pioneers in the middle of painting who raise the arms are pointing the west. The artist shows all pioneers are in buoyant mood .

  14. jpark756 says:

    Western Expansion is significant event in America which brought many other critical impacts like slavery debate and the civil war. Also the idea of expansion, in present, is being referred as ‘the Manifest Destiny’, violent act followed by the white supremacy and the name of God. Therefore, various historians and educators depict the western expansion negatively. On the other hand, the expansion era was the most momentous time in the United States history. During this time, America was suffering economically going under panic of 1819 and overflowing immigrants caused political and economical issues throughout the states. Going under great depression, America required essential movement to overcome economical and political hardships. Western Expansion was the adequate occurrence to confront new face for the states. People who couldn’t settle in stable in the eastern part of the continent migrated to the Western area with the hope for the better life. Actually due to the amazing and rapid western development brought a lot of benefits to America’s economy, which greatly contributed for the United States to become major countries among the world. The painter depicted the positive aspect, hope for better life, very effectively in the picture. The left side of picture, the West, colored bright, contrasted the snowy east part, dark, and indirectly claimed his opinion about the Western Expansion. It is obvious that the author has a positive opinion, unlike others, about the western expansion. It was interesting to observe the expansion era in the positive perspective.

  15. Penghui Zhong says:

    Obviously, this is a painting that depicts about the western expansion acts in America. Just like the pose of Washington in his other work, a man, holding his wife and children, was pointing to the west at the centre of the painting, showing the direction of their immigration. People under him are mostly farmers, who walk with their guns and horses. Interestingly, this picture is called “Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way”, which portrayed America as an Empire. According to the idea of Manifest Destiny in 1840s, desire for more territories makes America more like an Empire, which would conquer and colonise other places to satisfy their own interests. Also, this picture also remind me another painting portraying the Manifest Destiny, that has a goddess of Columbia walking from bright East to dark West. Different for that painting, Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze portrayed the western America as the bright side and the eastern as the dark side. The painter is probably trying to show us that the live in Western America is better and more civilised than that in East. This idea can also be found from the face of the immigrating people, which looked tired and unhappy. It is reasonable to think that the painter Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze support the western expansion act and believes that the live in western “golden land” is better than that in eastern America.

  16. Betsy Fu says:

    The painting contains the idea of Manifest destiny. In the back of the painting, there is a holy cross in the middle, which symbolizes that God has chosen America to expend territory and to Christianize the West. Under the cross, two men are carrying a dead body and trying to bury him. This implies that the painter believes some sacrifices are worth made in order to obey God’s commend. Interestingly, there are actually two paintings. In 1861, Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze had painted two paintings. This painting is an oil painting, and the other one is a mural. These two paintings are almost identical; however, there are also some differences. In both painting, almost each one of the person has a gun holding in his/her hand: it sends out the information that the people will expand using force. In the mural, some people uses ox instead of house to lead the carts. Oxen are often used in agriculture. At this time, the North is more industrialize, and the North has cities; on the other hand, the South focuses more on agriculture development, and it did not industrialize. The using of ox indicates that most of people immigrating are the farmers in the South instead of the workers in the North. In the oil painting, there are no black men. In the mural, an African-American boy, who is possibly a slave, is responsible to lead the mules, which further indicate that immigrates are merely Southerners. (When I was doing some research on the painting, a person has said that he noticed an interesting inscription across the overall strap across the black boy’s chest that read “John Hay// INVE.” The person’s guess is that the name might are referring to John Hay who was the personal secretary to President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. Leutze got to know John Hay because Lincoln and his father was good friend and they sometimes visit each other; Lincoln probably had brought John Hay with him. However, as for why the name was written on there, the person could not find an answer.)

  17. Lane says:

    He depicts western expansion as a chaotic movement of people and they’re all fighting for their own land. Everyone is everywhere, people have guns, horses, wagons and slaves. There does not appear to be any order, nor does it seem as if they are all going in a specific direction. It could suggest that he though western expansion was a waste of time, that everyone would fight each other for the land. It suggest that he does not want to fight all these people, he does not want to be a part of the chaos, nor does he want to be a part of the chaos that will follow once everyone settles down. Northerners feared that slavery would spread west, and as it did, they feared that the balance in the House of Representatives and the Senate would be upset. With these people bringing slaves into the west upon the expansion, he must have known that after all the dust had settled from the expansion and fighting for land, that there would be political fights and issues over slavery as well. If the new states voted to be Free, it would upset the balance, if they voted to be Pro-Slave, it would upset the balance. Either way there would only be more fighting over the position on slavery and it was entirely possible that a war would follow. Overall, he didn’t like the idea of western expansion and he feared the outcome of the expansion, and he showed it by painting this chaotic painting.

  18. Patrick Jin says:

    Western Expansion is an important event for America which brings many other critical impacts like slavery debate and the American Civil War.This paint also impact to the term “ Manifest destiny”, which is American expansion to western colonies. People in the painting are mostly looking at one direction, some of them are pointing to that direction. There is no doubt that the direction they are willing to is western land. There is also a holy cross in the back of the painting which express americans idea that God chose Americans to civilize and expand the western. In this paint, there are not only strong men but also women and children. The painter depicted the positive hope to the western explanation, hope for better life. The left side of picture, the West, colored bright, shows the better life; the right side of the picture, dark, cold and hopeless. It is reasonable to think that the painter Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze support the western expansion act and believes that western is a “golden land”which is better than that in eastern.

  19. Aby Morrill says:

    The background of this painting is set in one of the more prominent towns where citizens of the town gathered to vote for Andrew Jackson. There are facts about this painting. First people in this painting are all white males saying that white women, African Americans(slaves) and free blacks, and Native Americans could not vote. We can see that some people in this painting dress better clothes and look cleaner than some other people who dress poorly and look kind of dirty. Poor farmers could vote along with wealthy businessmen. Andrew Jackson must have had pity toward poor whites because they were similar to himself before becoming president because he was very poor himself just like everyone else, but still rose to power andovercame all the bad things he went through to become president.

  20. Princess JJ says:

    He depicts the western expansion as something new and bright. The style of Washington crossing the Delaware and this one has a very similar style. Both painting the people are facing left, they are traveling towards the light like manifest destiny. They show how people are traveling to go somewhere new. When they are traveling over the mountains they are looking for a better life and a new being. They are leaving the tinned snow covered mountain and going to the untamed west with covered wagons and guns to tame and settle with their family and start with new beginnings. The opinion on western expansion could be that it is a good thing and that it is a valuable thing that needs to happen based on the color and observation the people are making in the painting. The old main is showing his family the new things they are going to encounter, teaching his daughter about where they are going to be and the new things and challenges they are going to face. I think the people with the machetes and man on the rock are conquering the unknown factor of exploration. There is a cross in the side of the mountain that could mean that God id always with them or guiding them with their trip.

  21. Truman Guercio says:

    – In this painting we see a great movement west, men are on horseback horses and bull pull carts filled with food, water, belongings, and family. We also see many looking off into the sunset scouting their journey ahead and a man shows his wife and children the breath taking view as they cross the mountains. This is an extremely positive way of looking at western expansion, he shows the opportunity and the success that the hard work, blood, sweat, and tears will bring. But we mustn’t forget that there were not just sunsets and views on the way west blood was shed both from wildlife and Indians, the path was fraught with danger and many died trying to reach the ultimate goal of starting a new life in the west. But what emerged from the journey was more than enough reward, people started new lives and the lucky ones became some of the richest in the country as they lined their pockets with gold found the creeks and brooks.

  22. maha says:

    It, represent a lot of aspect, and hope , also known as westward ho, painted mural behind the westward staircase , also the mural was painted by “Emanuel Gottlieb ” , in 1861, and the destined of western and expansion is the belief of the US America , from the initial colonies along the Atlantic ,to the pacific ocean and the painting is more at the west side , it takes inspiration from the closing by ‘George Berkeley’

  23. CSanders says:

    This painting shows clearly the Artists opinion about Manifest Destiny: He thinks that it is a heroic, American quest to civilize and settle the west, something all Americans should be united in. The cross in the background shows that he believes christianizing the natives to be a part of this civilization quest, probably (although this is purely speculation on my part) in a Rudyard Kipling-esque “White Man’s Burden” sort of way. The Rifles are very reminiscent of Washington Crossing the Delaware, suggesting that there will be a military component to the civilization of the west, whether that involves fighting Native Americans or the Spanish/Mexicans. An interesting divergence from Washington Crossing the Delaware is the addition of women and young children, adding a family aspect to the Painting. In Washington Crossing the Delaware, the american men were on their way to fight the foreign, military threat of the British/ Hessians, whereas in this painting, the families of America are on their way to fight the domestic battle of civilization.

  24. Martin HU says:

    Well, when I first see these pioneers holding weapons and lifting their arms, I think that these men were trying to say ‘come on guys, let’s take their men as slave; take their children as future slave; take their women as slave maker, and take their land as ours’. However, the painter must means different idea from I thought. Obviously, the author tried to show the concept of Manifest Destiny, which is a kind of belief that the western expansion is an inevitable destiny of America. In the painting, those men carries their women, children and other supplies with them, which kind of give me sense that they were just moved to another home, rather than a new land that belongs to other people. In addition, another painting called “American Progress” that painted by John Gast shows that the God lead people from the brilliant east to the dark west. Which also proves the similar idea of those painter in the same generation that the movement is normal, inevitable and reasonable. Objectively, the western expansion is the western movement of capitalism, but brings calamity to those native people who were Indians. Such thing lead me to think about the East India Company of Britain. They colonize the land belongs to other nations and obtain benefit from the foreign land at the time those native people suffer the pain

  25. Jane Tullis says:

    In the painting “Westward the Course of Empire Takes it’s Way” by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze symbolizes Manifest Destiny during the 1860’s. It depicts the belief that the United States was destined for Western exploration and expansion. The dark turning into light represents how all the people that believed in the greatness that lied in the West. Leutze uses the dark to represent all the struggles that the explorers have gone through during their journey. The light in the west is more of a gold color, which Leutze uses to show the success in the West and the discovery of gold. There is a cross and a woman with a baby portrayed in the painting. The painter is probably trying to display Christ. The women symbolizes the Virgin Mary with her son Jesus. The painting also hints it is a pilgrimage to the Promised Land of the Western frontier in search of hope for a new opportunity in life. Leutze’s painting is an allegory of civilization. Overall, Leutze supported the idea of western expansion.

  26. Bo Young says:

    Western Expansion is an economic phenomenon in America that conflicted to influences the Americas towards the subsequential events such as the slavery debate and the American civil war. Also through this analogy of the expansion or also referred as “the manifest destiny” currently, we can conduct that these violent actions were performed by the white supremacy and the excuses of the religious authority. Therefore, various historians and educators depict the western expansion unfavorable and in an attitude of pessimistic viewpoint; however, on the other hand, these expansions can be concluded to be the most advantageous and consequential time period in the history of the United States. Because, during this era, America was on their suffrage economically and politically through the panic of 1819 and the surplus amount of immigrants causing issues through every individual states, going through this pandemonium, America needed a staggering movement in order to overcome these political and economic hardships. Fortunately for the Americans, Western expansion was an epitome to confront new identities for the states. Citizens who were inadequate to settle and live a stable life in the eastern continent was migrated to the western area hoping for a better lifestyle. Also by these migrations, people were able to spread and retain their religious beliefs and freedom onward. Through these beneficial factors and rapid westernization development, America was able to significantly boost their economy into somewhat stability and equity. As the painter, Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze symbolizes the westernization movement and the manifest destiny by his painting called “Westward the Course of Empire Takes its Way”, we can conclude that the movement was a prospect and a possibility that hoped for a superb lifestyle for individual groups in America who were on migration. Also, the depiction of the cross and the woman with the baby in the background reminds of religious figure Jesus and Mary or classic civilization conquest “white man burden” by Rudyard Kipling claiming that religious authorities were carried around. Furthermore, we can assume that on the left side of the painting, the West, depicted bright colors, distinctive to the east, where snow and gloominess have appeared. Personally, I was astonished by how the author used indirect reasoning to contrasting the west and the east and expressed a positive attitude towards the expansion era of westernization, unlike other critics and historians who would definitely disagree with this idea of Western Expansion.

  27. Bo Young says:

    Western Expansion is an economic phenomenon in America that conflicted to influences the Americas towards the subsequential events such as the slavery debate and the American civil war. Also through this analogy of the expansion or also referred as “the manifest destiny” currently, we can conduct that these violent actions were performed by the white supremacy and the excuses of the religious authority. Therefore, various historians and educators depict the western expansion unfavorable and in an attitude of pessimistic viewpoint; however, on the other hand, these expansions can be concluded to be the most advantageous and consequential time period in the history of the United States. Because, during this era, America was on their suffrage economically and politically through the panic of 1819 and the surplus amount of immigrants causing issues through every individual states, going through this pandemonium, America needed a staggering movement in order to overcome these political and economic hardships. Fortunately for the Americans, Western expansion was an epitome to confront new identities for the states. Citizens who were inadequate to settle and live a stable life in the eastern continent was migrated to the western area hoping for a better lifestyle. Also by these migrations, people were able to spread and retain their religious beliefs and freedom onward. Through these beneficial factors and rapid westernization development, America was able to significantly boost their economy into somewhat stability and equity. As the painter, Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze symbolizes the westernization movement and the manifest destiny by his painting called “Westward the Course of Empire Takes its Way”, we can conclude that the movement was a prospect and a possibility that hoped for a superb lifestyle for individual groups in America who were on migration. Also, the depiction of the cross and the woman with the baby in the background reminds of religious figure Jesus and Mary or classic civilization conquest “white man burden” by Rudyard Kipling claiming that religious authorities were carried around. Furthermore, we can assume that on the left side of the painting, the West, depicted bright colors, distinctive to the east, where snow and gloominess have appeared. Personally, I was astonished by how the author used indirect reasoning to contrasting the west and the east and expressed a positive attitude towards the expansion era of westernization, unlike other critics and historians who would definitely disagree with this idea of Western Expansion.

  28. Shawn Lu says:

    “Westward the Course of Empire Takes It Way” was painted by a German artist named Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze in 1861 and it was a mural painting. One of his famous painting is “Washington Crossing the Delaware”. When I was doing research, I find out that he hopes to use the example of the American Revolution to encourage European liberal reformers. Moreover, he also uses American tourists and students of art as a model and let them be his assistant. In this painting, it obviously shows the term of “Manifest Destiny” which means that American is destined to expand in the west. In the far right of the painting, there is a man on a horse pointing to the west and tell other people where is the way. In the middle, there is also a man hold two children and pointing to the west. We can even see a holy cross in the back. This means that the God has chosen America to expand and bring civilization to the west. Therefore, we know that the painter is trying to depict a positive idea of the western expansion. The farmer and workers are moving from a poor land to a better land. In the right side of the painting, there is a snow mountain and color is very dark. This means cold and poor. However, on the left side, the color change to bight color inside of dark color which means gold and a better life. Therefore, the painter is supporting American expansion base on this painting and he also supported American revolution base on the painting, “Washington Crossing the Delaware”.

    http://www.history.com/topics/manifest-destiny

  29. JuliaMartins says:

    This is a very pretty painting, I really like the use of colors, and the lighting created by them. Leutze portrayed a very big group of people, composed of women, men, kids and animals, on their journey to the west. For me there are two major ideas in the painting, “city upon the hill” and the manifest destiny, which are pretty much connected. In the back we have two men standing in a high point, on the top of rocks, which for me reminded me of the “city upon the hill”, with literally the two men at a high point, portraying this concept of a utopian society. But it may also show the struggle of the journey to the west, since it is a very hard climb, shown by one of the men at the rock, but also the victorious feeling when reaching the goal, portrayed by the man already standing at the top of the hill. The manifest destiny idea is also present because one side of the painting is darker and the people are facing the opposite side, which is brighter, almost like a sunrise. This brings the idea of glory, and happiness brought by this expansion. How their goal is a better place, without darkness. For me the way this painting was done, with the lighting, and for the interpretation I created, I believe Leutze saw the West expansion as good thing.

  30. yuechun yao says:

    I believe that the painter Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze support the western expansion act and truly think manifest destiny improves America. First of all, there is a man who sits on the rock and holds two children points to the west side which shows the direction of the expansion.Then, let us look at the picture. The painter is playing the color in this painting. The color is becoming brighter as the picture moves left. It implies there is a hopeful future are waiting for them. The painter believes the life in the west will be peaceful. Second of all, there are many people join this immigration. I see farmers, ranchers, hunters, and women. The population size is huge which also implies the painter support this expansion. Also, I notice one thing that the man is holding two children and there is a woman at the back is carrying the luggage. This shows the immigration is not very organized because the social role is buried. Normally at that time, taking care of children is the job of women and men should be carried luggage. This can be interpreted as although the painter supports the expansion, he also thinks this immigration is not fully prepared. Third of all, there is a holy cross in the middle of painting which indicates American think it is God who guides them to civilized the western side. Lastly, in front of the holy cross, I see there are two men try to bury a corpse. This may indicate when people are moving toward western side, some people are ill and eventually died, this also shows that this movement is very rush. Overall, I believe that the painter supports the expansion.

  31. ethan chenault says:

    The painting “Westward the Course of Empire Takes it Way” was painted by a German artist named Emanuel Leutze in 1861 and is considered an mural. When I was researching this painting the word Manifest Destiny came up a lot, and this painting symbolizes this. Manifest Destiny is a term for the attitude prevalent during the 19th century period of American expansion that the United States not only could, but was destined to, stretch from coast to coast. In this paintings case, it means the belief that the United States was destined for Western exploration and expansion originating from the initial colonies along the Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific Ocean. It looks like the people in the painting are raising their hands and guns like “hey let’s go this way” or “let’s go and explore the new land.” It also looks like there’s a guy sitting on top a rock pointing towards the new land showing the people where to go. In the background it looks like there are people building something as if they are occupying the new land already. It almost has that “look for the light at the end of the tunnel” effect because they are going from dreary lands to brighter and healthier land. It’s almost like when all the people in the world started building the Tower of Babel and God didn’t want them to so he gave different people different languages so they could no longer communicate with each other. So the groups of people went with their language group and went and explored and expanded into their territories they are in today. This painting is very beautiful and has a lot of meaning to it, that’s probably why it is hung in the White house.

  32. Thomas-Louis Deshaies says:

    Thomas-Louis Deshaies
    History
    10/11/2017
    History
    Blog 5

    I think he want to represented the the expansion of the west but all the hard part , the family who try to pass this big trip , the miners who work in very difficult working condition , the people who try and dead and the ward against the indien . He really want to show us how hard was the west and his expansion . All of this really represented all the kind of people who try to go at the conquerer the west . I think he had a really bad opinion about the west , because first we see any happiness in this paint , the people don’t see to be happy , they seem to work very hard .
    I second because he really show the bad part of the conquerer of the west , the indian ward where the american still the territory and kill the indian in mass . He show to a cemetery , that a big point for show than the west it’s not easy for 1 minutes , that’s represente for my eyes dead and misery, that’s show some people are dead to try to do this trip . For finish this paint have a lot of thing to say , but in general we can say this paint show a lot of effort of the US people , we can see how they work for this trip and how they had suffert .

  33. Jeremy Wagner says:

    In this painting “Westward the Course of Empire Takes It Way”
    by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze it shows settlers moving to the west to find new land. The settlers are moving west to build an empire. This painting reminds me of the painting where Washington was crossing the deleware. But in this painting it is clear that they are moving west. There are a bunch of settlers that are riding in carriages, horses, and some are on foot. In the background I can see indians up in the rocky terrain. He depicts in this painting the struggle of travel and how hard it is to survive. The environment looks very rocky and try and looks like it has not rained in weeks. In the back you see some tall snowy mountains that looks like the Rocky Mountains. This painting shows very good detail and the colors fit with the land. Shows a very ice sunset in the background meaning they are still on the move and have been all day.

  34. AAAmily says:

    No one would doubt that Western Expansion is a significant event for America during 19th century which brings lots of critical impacts such as slavery debate and the American Civil War. As we can see, the man in the center and the left of the painting point to the West, with other’s faces turning to the same direction. These details lead to the main idea of this painting — “Manifest Destiny”, the American expansion to western colonies. In the back of the painting, there is a holy cross, which symbolizes that America was chosen by God to expand territory and to christianize the West. Under the cross, two men are carrying a dead body and trying to bury him. This implies that the Easterners believe in sacrifices that are actually necessary to complete the expansion authorized by God. It is interesting to note that the title of the painting is Westward the Course of Empire Takes It Way, in which case America is recognized as a “empire”. This idea emphasizes the sense of duty of Americans for their great expansion. The utilization of darker color on the right and brighter color on the left shows the idea of honor, happiness and better future will be brought by the expansion. Actually, this paint reminds me Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze’s another great work Washington Crossing the Delaware. By comparing both paintings, we can find quite similar techniques are used, or some are even exactly the same. For example, people in both paints gather around one central person. The focus point of this picture is the man who points toward westward in order to show the people the way, in which way general Washington is the focus point of Washington Crossing the Delaware.

  35. Richard Bolton says:

    The paintings themselves look very similar in terms of layout and technique. They are both focused on the one person who seems to be at the center of the scene. He is the person who is giving hope to those who seem weary and defeated. This painting emphasizes hope in the unknown lands of the Western region of the Unites States of America. It made Americans feel like it was their duty to help expand the US and explore this new region shrouded in mystery. They believed it was their destiny according to the Manifest Destiny idea. Washington in the other painting also inspires hope by the giving the image of a fearless leader in the painting, one who is not afraid to go headlong into unknown and possibly dangerous territory.

  36. Gabe Beroza says:

    “Westward the Course of Empire Takes It Way” was a painting by a German artist named Emanuel Leutze. The paintings actually size was twenty feet by thirty feet with many noticeable and hidden features. For example the strip at the bottom was a depiction of the San Francisco Bay. Within the painting you can see high mountains that they have passed and a golden sky to the west. This is relating to the gold rush of forty nine. It just shows the sheer amount of individuals and families that are heading to the west in search of riches and a better life. Emanuel Leutze could be trying to portray Americans as opportunist trying to make money. The light difference shows that hard journey that the families and explorers had passed and overcome and how the future of America was in western expansion. There is a a man on a rock pointing to the west to just add that people are focused on the west and he is looking to the future as he can see the San Francisco bay. This artist depicts both Washington crossing the Delaware and this work very similarly. The styles are the same in the fact that there is a centralized focus with many more details and depiction of facts to prove a point. I enjoyed how he added so much attention to detail and the fact that it is so large in real life is very impressive. The colors mix well and the sunset is beautiful.

  37. NIck Leto says:

    In the painting by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze it is though that he has a view on the Americans as excited and ready for the new land they are about to populate. In the center of the painting is a man comforting two girls pointing to the sunset to explain their far travels and tired bodies. Another action in the painting are two men with axes showing that they are eager to work and ready to expand America. There are also a lot of men with guns showing that they might have to fight indians and other dangerous obstacles while on their quest for a new life. Leutze’s opinion on American expansion is a positive one by the way he illustrated this painting using calm colors and the body language of people. He has people on top of rocks with their hats off showing how much they went through and their relief of making it.

  38. Boulton Chase says:

    This painting indicates the western expansion era. All the people have packed everything they own and are moving west to find new homes and land. The main focal point in the painting is of the man sitting on the rock with two little girls pointing west, showing which way the group should follow. It looks like the sun is starting to set, so they are probably starting to look for a place to make a camp and rest for the night. Or they could be traveling through the night because they could also be apart of the “Gold rush” and are heading west in search of striking Gold first and becoming rich. The mountains look snow caped so they could be passing through the rocky mountains somewhere in Colorado. The group is wearing relatively thick clothing and are wearing fur hats which could also indicate they could be passing through the rocky mountains. In the front of the painting you can see two men swing axes so that they can clear the way for the horses and wagons.

  39. At first, when I was glancing through the painting from Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze without knowing any other analysis of the painting, I think that this is a painting expressing the success of the Western Expansion. Besides that, I think the Leutze wants to depict Western Expansion as a cruel and hard movement. There are two guys on the left using axes to cut off the thistles, thorns and the branches to create a way for the army to move on. I think that is a metaphor for the difficulties that stop the western movement. However, they are working their way out. Also, the guns on those people’s hand show that this will be a bloody movement. What is interesting is, I find a controversial idea of this painting. At first, I saw the holy cross and the people seem to be putting somebody near it. I thought that represents the tomb; it shows that there were people sacrifice for this expansion, which proves that the western expansion is bloody. However, I found that many other people think that is a holy cross represents God, in other words, it shows the sign of “manifest destiny”— Americans meant to have all the land. But the point is, Christianity represents the peace. However, violence is shown this painting. In general, I think Leutze thinks expansion as a good thing based on the overall victory feeling and the guys creating the way in the painting.

  40. Sana Mir says:

    This painting is showing the expansion to the west of America. By the colors and the way the men are positioned in the picture you get the feeling that the painter thinks how the this great expansion to new lands and places is a hope and how he is optimistic about future. On the other hand, the way that some of these men are on the horse and some are working hard makes me feel that they might be forcing people to pack their stuff and find a new place to live which shows the cruelty. Two other details that are noticeable is first, the fact that the painting starts with darkness and as we go to the background it gets brighter and brighter. Furthermore, if you look thoroughly you notice how their hands and even the sticks or whatever they are holding is all pointed towards that bright future. Generally, moving to the west is a new beginning and Leutze is trying to express that he is on the same boat about this. How they can start a new life away from all the things that are going on in other parts. Maybe new rules, new culture and laws toward a better life.

  41. morgan says:

    This painting called “ the westward the course of empire takes it way “by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze. This is a very beautiful painting. The color are very beautiful. This painting also told about the idea of the manifest destiny. There is a holy cross on the mountain of he painting which is present the God. The God choose these people to explore the territory. The man are on the horse back, they prepare to go west, to explore the west. All the people in this painting are facing to the west. This painting also about the hope, the hope in the western land. In the left of the painting, the color are very light, but in the other side, the color are sark. It shows that they go to find the hope. they want to have better life in the western land.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westward_the_Course_of_Empire_Takes_Its_Way

  42. Stellaaaa says:

    Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its way is painted by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze in 1861. In the painting, there are many explorers and their families exploring and moving to the west. A man pointing to the west shows their destiny is western lands. The sky is bright on the west and fairly dark on the east, which represents the hope of people. The eastern snow mountain and steep valley imply that how hard the western expansion is, and how tough these people are. It means that these immigrant comes out of trivial, and reaching the “golden land.” They finally overcome all the problems, and in the west, there are fertile lands and vivid forest. Now, They are looking forward to having better future and pursue happiness. The mountain peak divides the world between the past suffering and hopeful future. The idea of manifest destiny is the theme of the painting that moving to the west is a kind of divine will. God gives Americans mission to “save” the barbarian western land. The expansion of west helps to stimulate the economy to grow. Many southern lands are not able to grow plants because of the overuse of the lands, so farmers move to the west to find the new land for making the profit.
    However, The manifest destiny is just an excuse for white people to expand and take recourse from the west. It is like white man’s burden, which pretends to make white men less guilty about the slavery and colonization, but what they do is dehumanization and treating black people or local people as animals.

  43. Jack M says:

    In this painting you can tell that George Washington is planning to cross the Delaware because he has his crew ready. I believe they have a lot of supplies with them. I think this picture depicts the starting a new beginning. Moving west helps everyone with starting a new life with a clean slate. You can see that everyone is tired and worn out but that never stops Washington from doing what he needs to get done. They believe working hard will give them that second chance at life and by that they need to build the path to the West. In this picture you can clearly tell who the leaders are, they are the ones pointing fingers and giving orders, the ones in charge. The leaders continue to motivate the people because they believe if they push through the Western Expansion they will obtain a new beginning. They are fighters and the leaders respect that.

  44. Quyen says:

    In this painting, westward expansion is depicted through details and colors. There are many men, women, and children who seem to be travelling. The men have guns, the women are carrying children, and the wagons are full of luggage. The men’s guns are used in case of threat or used for hunting for food. Most of the men are riding horses. Horses were used for transportation purposes. In the back of the painting, there is lots of free land to be industrialized. I noticed there was a cross near the center of the painting depicting Christianity. Underneath the cross, there is a deceased man being surrounded by two other men. This shows the hardship of travelling in bad conditions. The mark of the holy cross also shows the effort to spread religion. The vibrant colors on the left of the painting show a bright future in expansion and a new beginning. The colors also show hope because the empty land is in sight of the pioneers in the horizon. Although, on the left, the tall mountains with more cool toned colors show how they were travelling in rough conditions to get to the new land. Judging by the painting, the painter liked the idea of western expansion. Manifest destiny was the future of America in the painter’s eyes.

  45. Joe Cermin says:

    In this painting by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze, he seems to depict American westward expansion as an exciting thing. If he did not like anything about it, then he would paint something with more dark and gloomy characters. The two characters in the background on the rock, show that they are most likely leading the expedition and are very nationalistic about achieving the great plains as american territory. Leutze almost paints this painting to show that the westward expansion was a family event, by painting two small children with a mother holding them. Some are pointing at land we cannot see, meaning there could be much more.

  46. Emily says:

    This painting depicts Westward expansion. What stands out the most is the older man in the middle of the painting that is pointing to the West, seeming to be showing the other people-who are likely fellow settlers- where they are going. There are young children, men and women who appear to be on the move. Men are carrying what appears to be guns and have a look of anger on their faces, almost depicting them as a barbaric group of people. In the very back of the painting, there seems to be what appears as 2 men, one seems to be holding up what appears to be a weapon, and the man next to him is on the ground as if he has just been struck down. This may support the theory that the painter is attempting to depict the men in this painting as barbaric, angry and/or cruel. It appears that they have left their home land and are moving westward because the painting shows the settler’s animals such as horses and their carriages, which we at the time used to carry things such as personal belongings, goods, along with all children and the elderly. It is unclear what season they are traveling in because the mountains in the background are snow covered, while the settlers are dressed relatively prepared for regular weather.

  47. Aundre says:

    This picture depicts western expansion. It shows hoards of people moving through land, with axes in their hands cutting down things as they go. The western expansion was do to the gold rush. Everyone was hearing about the surplus of gold that was hiding in the west and wanted to get a piece so they can be wealthy. It’s pretty noticeable that the right side of the painting is much darker than left side. This is depicting that the people going from the east to the west were going from the dark to the light. I think of this as the promised land. While the westward expansion was happening it moved the Native American out of their homes. They pushed out so much that many of them had nowhere to go.

  48. Tyler says:

    In this picture it is evident george washington is about to cross the Delaware. He has people behind him with a lot of goods and supplies. Leautze implies western expansion in this image and it is almost acting like propaganda. The start of something new. There are many opportunities in moving west such as starting over with life and gives people different opportunities, george washington for example. In the image, you can tell whomever is behind washington is more than fatigued and wanting to go home. With washington’s courage they carry on. They have many tools to destroy things in their way and start new. This is very symbolic. The new start is coming and the new people know that so they dont stop moving forward,

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